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5 Heavy Work Activities For Your Child

Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be overwhelming for adults and children alike, especially children with sensory processing  disorders (SPD). Holidays entail being around a lot of family and friends, eating lots of different foods, and oftentimes getting off of a “typical” daily routine. Here are some great heavy work activities to help your child feel more regulated:

5 Activities For Children To Regulate Themselves:

1. Raking leaves: Have your child help you rake leaves in the yard or at a park nearby; once they create a sufficient pile of leaves, have your child take a big jump into the leaves to give them lots of proprioceptive input. Change up this activity a little bit by having your child log roll through the pile of leaves to provide them withKids playing Football vestibular input and helps to work on their motor planning skills.

2. Pulling wagon/stroller: After a long day full of eating and socializing, take your child outside for some fresh air by going for a walk around the neighborhood. Have your child push/pull a younger sibling in a wagon or a stroller to provide them with heavy work, and help improve trunk control and upper body strength. If there is not a younger sibling to push/pull, feel free to place household items into a wagon instead to increase the load (e.g. lots of blankets, dumbbells, balls etc).

3. Stirring recipes: Involve your child in preparing your  feast by allowing them to stir the batter and/or roll out the dough for your favorite recipes (e.g. pie crust, potatoes, stuffing, cookies etc.) Stirring resistive batter provides your child with heavy work, and also helps to work on hand and upper body strength, motor planning, and following directions.

4. Building a scarecrow: Bring out your family’s creative side by building a scarecrow together. Have your child create a cardboard scarecrow for an inside project, decorating it with glitter and puffballs. Cardboard provides a resistive material for your child to cut through, making it more of a challenge, and helping to work on hand and upper body strength. A life-size scarecrow can also be made by using old clothes stuffed with straw or crumpled newspaper for an outside project. Stuffing old clothing works on motor planning, heavy work, and fasteners depending on the clothing used (e.g. buttons, ties, and zippers).

5. Football: Fall is the perfect time of year to get outside and work on ball skills and hand-eye coordination by tossing a football around. Teaching your child the rules of football and the goals of the game help to work on following directions and being okay with winning/losing. Add resistance by having your child wear wrist or ankle weights or carry a filled backpack (e.g. folded blanket, books, stuffed animals etc). Add an extra challenge by incorporating various ways to get across the football field, such as: single-leg hops, frog jumps, skipping, and galloping; this will help your child work on motor planning, body awareness, and trunk control.

 

Halloween For Dog Families

Guest Blog From Bark Busters!

Halloween brings a fun time for most of us, but for some of our much-loved four-legged family members, Halloween can be a nightmare. Dog owners  may not be able to control external surroundings, but they can care for their dog’s safety and well-being by observing the following tips from Bark Busters Home Dog Training, the world’s largest dog training company:Dog Training Chilcago

Don’t leave your dog outside. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your dog inside where it is safe. Your dog may be used to strangers, but so many little ghouls and goblins running about may be too much. Remember also that it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there will be no shortage of strangers.

Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, it is best to put him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.

Reassure your dog. The best thing you can do for your dog when he is feeling unsettled by Halloween activities is to act as you normally would around your dog. By over-reassuring your dog or giving him an unusual amount of attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that there must be something to worry about.

Have your dog get used to costumes. Your dog may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your dog to scent the costumes and keep masks off while your dog is around.

Check your dog’s ID tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your dog’s collar-just in case.

Keep candy away from your dog. Many candies-especially chocolate-are toxic to dogs, resulting from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. If you want to keep your dog safe, make certain that sweets, including their wrappers, are kept well away from your dog.

Protect dogs from candles and pumpkins. Excited or agitated dogs can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Be sure those items are away from your dog’s reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn.

Think twice about dressing your dog in a costume. While some dogs might enjoy being dressed up, many don’t. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If he shows any resistance, don’t do it.

Be prepared. If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, be prepared at all times. Do not let your dog approach the door of a house, and stay clear of possible witches or goblins that may pop out. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner’s consent.

Have fun but think of your dog’s safety.

Finally, if you want your dog to be included in Halloween festivities, think about his safety as much as you would the safety of a small child.

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Marlene Marks  is a dog behavioral therapist and trainer with Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company. For more details, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.BarkBusters.com to find a dog trainer in your area. 

Top 9 Tips For Over-Stimulating Holidays

The holiday season can be a very fun and exciting time, but it can also be overwhelming for some of us and for our kids.  When a child becomes over-stimulated during the holidays, it can lead to stress, anxiety, or behaviors that can make this special time with family and friends difficult.  Here are some tips to help make the holidays more enjoyable. 

  • Make a visual schedule of the events to take place and go over it with your child prior to leaving the house.  This way,  they can better prepare themselves for parties and events.
  • Try to keep their mealtime and bedtime routine as normal as possible. Read more

Halloween Tips For Children With Sensory Processing Disorder

Halloween SPDHalloween parties, costumes, make-up, masks, trick-or-treating, and treats. This all sounds like fun to many children, but Halloween “fun” can be a sensory nightmare for children with sensory issues. Fortunately, there are ways to help make Halloween more enjoyable for the child who struggles with sensory issues.

SPD For Halloween Tip 1 – Exposure to Halloween early and often

Start early in explaining Halloween to your children to ensure a successful night. Repetition helps kids with sensory processing difficulties understand an event or holiday.

SPD For Halloween Tip 2 – Pick the right costume

  • Choose a non-scary costume
  • Let your child help select a costume. A bumblebee suit with wings and bobbing antennae may be too much to handle, but a silly shirt or a handheld prop might be perfect.
  • Try out the costumes, make sure they are a good fit.
  • Practice walking and sitting while wearing the costume.
  • Wearing a mask may be uncomfortable. He may prefer to hold the mask or just skip it. 
  • If costumed, make sure it’s something she can partially or fully remove so she doesn’t have to go home if she becomes uncomfortable.
  • If your child is not wearing a costume, make sure they know there is nothing wrong with them.
  • If your child is afraid of trick-or-treating and seeing others dressed up in costumes, stay home and hand out candy from the front yard or the doorway.  
  • Your child can wear his costume in safe and familiar environments such as the neighbors’ and relatives’ houses. 
  • Never force your child to wear a costume. If they do not want to wear one at all, that’s okay!
  • Experiment with face make-up as tactile exploration. However, bring baby wipes to remove it just in case.

 

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Top 5 Healthy Halloween Treats for Your Toddler

Halloween PizzaLadies and gentlemen, ghosts and goblins…the darkest, spookiest, goose-bumpin’ season has finally arrived! During Halloween season, there’s nothing scarier than the sight of your adorable toddler in his or her costume, running around with buckets full of candy. Lucky for you, they are still at an age where you can instill healthy eating habits in their little bodies without letting go of the Halloween spirit! Below is a list of some of my favorite healthy treats for Halloween which won’t lead to cavities and constant cravings for sweets.

 Top 5 Healthy Halloween Treats for Your Toddler 

 

  • Spooky Jell-O:  Make a package of orange Jell-O and use Halloween cookie cutters to make spooky creatures. Top it off with creepy crawlers and you’ve got yourself a non-fat treat. 
  •  Trick or Treat Alternatives: This year, take initiative in your neighborhood by giving healthier candy alternatives like animal crackers, single serve boxes of cereal, or individual 100 percent juice drinks. The more your toddler is exposed to it, the more likely they’ll choose it over candy! To top it off, you’ll make other parents very happy.  Read more